1,208 Ridleys lay eggs on Puri coast today in Odisha, India

Puri: In what would cheer the environmentalists and animal lovers, a record number of 1,208 Olive Ridley sea turtles have laid eggs along the 100-kilometre stretch from Chilika lake to Devi river mouth during the current nesting season.
According to forest department statics, this is for the first time in a decade that such a large number of Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys Olivacea) turtles have laid eggs here between November last year and February 2017.
“This time the sea reptiles broke the 10 years’ record and we hope the figure to rise further as the nesting will continue till March end,” said Puri divisional forest officer (DFO) Chittaranjan Mishra. This has brought cheers to the wildlife conservationists, who are working to prevent extinction of rare species, he added.
In order to facilitate safe breeding of the endangered species, forest department had imposed restrictions on trawlers and mechanised boats along the coast from November to May end. The forest department had set up 14 patrolling camps at Brahmagiri, Balukhand, Konark and Astarang under Chilika forest division to keep tabs on illegal trawlers.
Forest officials said the state government has banned movement of trawlers up to 20 km into the sea near the Devi river estuary and prohibited mechanised fishing within 5 km radius. Despite prohibitory measures, numerous trawlers and local fishermen were found fishing here in violation of the Marine Fishing Regulatory Act (MFRA).
The Olive Ridley turtles, listed under the Schedule-1 of the endangered species list, frequently come to the shore here for nesting every year, especially during winter. In order to facilitate safe hatching of the eggs, the forest department had set up several artificial hatcheries on Konark and Astarang coast.
About 752 nesting sites have been spotted on the Devinasi coast this year, but the forest department has imposed a ban on collection of eggs. While around 39,661 eggs have been collected from 334 nesting sites on Astarang beach, 12 eggs have so far been collected from 121 nesting sites on Konark beach.
According to forest department sources, 1,700 male and 2,134 female turtles died after they were entangled in the fishing nets of trawlers. While 1,208 of the endangered species have laid eggs, at least 2,134 have perished due to mechanised fishing boats in operation along the coast in the past few years.